UPND President Hakainde Hichilema (HH) says he is not afraid of anyone even after his 127 days in jail.
He also said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) should be dissolved because it has no value to the people of Zambia.
Speaking at a joint press conference with other alliance partners in Lusaka today, Mr. Hichilema said he had not been intimidated after leaving prison.
“People are saying no, HH is afraid after being jailed, someone who was taking care of cattle when he was young can be afraid? No we are doing our job and you better do your job as well. We better do our work together that’s the message. I was incarcerated for the highest offense (treason) what can I fear now? They will arrest me just for one day on a bailable offense, the following day I will be home. Again I start working, they arrest me and again I come out, just like that. So what are you afraid of?” he asked.
“Now that we have identified where the corruption is, the first thing is to come together as citizens and say no to corruption. We should not fear, there is too much fear in you people, I don’t know why God gave us such a nice country but then put a bunch of cowards in it. You will achieve nothing through cowardice, you will achieve everything through courage,” said Mr. Hichilema.
And Mr. Hichilema said his party is already preparing papers to go to court to challenge corruption deals happening in government.
“The message is that ACC you are incompetent, you can’t say ‘the procedures were followed’ even if the price was too high, $1 million dollars when we should have paid US$150,000 to US$300,000 thousand dollars. Who is pocketing US$700,000? ACC must be dissolved because there is no value,” he said.
He adde, “You cant say because the procedure was followed, a tender was issued when information was being shared that three, four companies are owned by the same people tendering for the same tender, then you say there was competition. The last bid, its the same person, the middle one its the same person, still the first bid its the same person, then you write that ‘procedures were followed’ procedure yabanyoko yebo (is is your mother’s procedure) charged Mr. Hichilema said.
He described Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela as a knowledge-limited Minister for defending the $1.2 billion-dollar Ndola-Lusaka dual carriageway project.
“I think today we have contextualized this debate on how much money is being stolen from your pockets because the debt that they are acquiring, nindalama zanu (its your money). So I think we have made the point loud and clear, at minimum they are stealing $3 million, at maximum they are stealing $3.350 million dollars on the Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway road project,” Mr. Hichilema said.
“The other day I was watching Chitotela on news and I said ‘how can this guy be so limited in knowledge?’ and he was arguing that what they were saying is true because they were constructing curves, now am told they are building hotels along the road between Lusaka and Ndola.”
He added, “Who tells you that hotels are constructed by government while doing a road? Its a private sector job, they are the ones who identify the opportunities and in the tourism business. We operate the largest tourism business in this country in case you don’t know with the largest employer in the sector, single employer. We know what we are talking about. There is no business to construct a hotel between Lusaka and Ndola, it doesn’t exist. There is no business along that road to justify that expenditure.”
He said that his party would also conduct some peaceful demonstrations when need arise.
“We shall be going to court, we are already drawing out court papers now, to stop certain things. If the Judiciary stands in our way, we will ask for those elements of the judiciary to be removed from the judiciary. If they don’t get removed, we will remove them sooner or later. Because it means they are supportive of the PF corruption isn’t it? We should demonstrate peacefully when we think its necessary the way Laura Miti and our other colleagues did it,” Mr. Hichilema said.
He further commended the 57 UPND and independent members of parliament for petitioning Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini to appoint a select committee to investigate the procurement of fire.
“Our Members of parliament have put a request to the speaker of the national assembly to constitute a select committee, they did this on the 29th of September. We asked them to do it, we have asked them to petition the speaker to set up a select committee to investigate the scourge, the cancer of corruption one amongst others, on the fire tenders, and on the Lusaka, Ndola road. And we expect that the speaker will act correctly, he should act correctly,” said Mr Hichilema.
Meanwhile, People’s Party President Mike Mulongoti said former Minister of Local Government Stephen Kampyongo escaped the fire tender deal after realizing that it was going to hurt his integrity.
“If you see what is going on, on the procurement of these fire tenders, the current Minister of Local government is more on the quiet side. Its the former Minister who is being asked questions to explain what happened. I saw the current minister cultivate diplomatic tactics, trying to defend the thing but he realized how he was going to hurt himself, I think he escaped because he knows that it will injure his integrity. I can assure you that something went wrong in this fire tender. But along the way, you will discover that many other people have benefited from this deal.”
“So there is a lot more that we are going to discover, lt’s not panic, the matter is going very well. Am sure we will get to the bottom of this and am sure we will all be happy in the end,” said Mr. Mulongoti.